Last night Pete Talbot put up a new post on the Montana Post. I encourage you to read it.
He’s the only one worth reading on that site anymore. Sadly, he only puts up three to four posts a month.
He’s getting tired and worn-out by it all. He’s frustrated with a Democratic Party that’s lost its way.
RD has been putting up exceptional posts this week about the problems in Missoula, and I encourage you to read that site as well.
We currently have a week to go until the municipal election filing deadline, June 17.
There’s been sparse reporting about the various city council elections happening around the state.
This is odd to me. Currently there’s a lot of hoopla over 2020 candidates - statewide and nationally - and yet our local city councils probably have more direct impact on our daily lives.
I suspect that come next Monday night or Tuesday, we’ll see some write-ups in the newspapers and on the TV news sites.
Until then - and pretty much for the next 5 months after - it’ll be up to those various city council candidates to get themselves elected.
And that takes work.
I ran for office in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Lost ‘em all.
I ponied-up my $150 this year to run again, too.
Filing began on April 18, and I filed that day. With a week to go, we currently have the following candidates here in Missoula:
- Ward 1: Heidi West vs. Elizabeth Weaver
- Ward 2: Mirtha Becerra vs. Brent Sperry
- Ward 3: Gwen Jones vs. Dakota Hileman vs. Drew Iverson
- Ward 4: Greg Strandberg vs. Amber Sherrill
- Ward 5: John Contos vs. Alex Fregerio
- Ward 6: Nick Shontz vs. Sandra Vasecka
Recognize any of those names? Probably not.
Heidi West and Gwen Jones are the only two elected incumbents running again. Mirtha Becerra is also an incumbent, but was never elected.
So that means half the seats this year are open seats.
It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, and what the candidates do to distinguish themselves.
At the moment, most of them are confining their efforts to Facebook. I haven’t seen a single letter-to-the-editor from any of them.
The only one that has a candidate website is Nick Shontz. Three others have websites that are under construction.
Most are sitting around waiting for the filing deadline. Chances are good that we’ll have some last-minute filers, and that’ll shake things up a bit.
Most are dreading this. Some - like myself - are hoping for it.
For instance, in my Ward 4 race it’ll be an obvious Democrat (Sherrill) running against a conservative (me).
It’ll be damn hard for me to win in Ward 4 unless I have another Democrat that’ll split the vote between themselves and Sherrill.
Two years ago the two Democrats in Ward 4 split the vote, getting 29% and 25%. The strong conservative in the race got 42%.
If we add those votes all up, the two Democrats got 2,103 votes and the two conservatives got 1,768.
So that’s a difference of 335 votes. One big change is that 171 new residents were brought into Ward 4 when the boundaries were gerrymandered in March. They were brought in from the more conservative Ward 5.
There are over 5,400 houses or apartments in Ward 4, with about 12,300 people living in them.
31% of them voted in the last city council race.
As usual, the biggest obstacle will be apathy. People just don’t care. Oh, they’ll complain, but when it comes time to vote, they won’t.
I suspect that here in Ward 4, most will vote for Sherrill. She took over the Five Valleys Land Trust after Grant Kier stepped down to run for Congress last year.
So far Sherrill is endorsed by:
- Mayor John Engen
- Tracy Stone-Manning
- Councilman John Dibari
- Grant Kier and Rebecca Bendick
- Representative Katie Sullivan
- Melanie Brock
- Susan Hay Patrick
- Geoff Birnbaum
- David and Becky Brooks
- Bonnie Buckingham
- Phil and Julie Gardner
- Representative Marilyn Marler
- Mike Foote
- Emily Brock
- Greg Tollefson
- Ellie Hill Smith
- Heidi MacDonald
- Heidi DeArment
- Lucy Beighle
- John O'Connor
- CB Pearson
- Rick and Rika Wishcamper
- Wendy Ninteman
- Caroline and Willis Kurtz
- Councilman Bryan von Lossberg
- Pat O'Herron
- Susan Beck
- Marco and Christine Littig
- Councilwoman Gwen Jones
- Clayton Elliott
- Owen and Anya Gue
- Elke Govertson
- Derek Goldman
- Karl and Lori Westenfelder
- Gita Saedi and Jason Kiely
- Julie Fogarty
I’m sure you recognize a few of those names. Most are establishment Democrats here in Missoula.
No surprises there.
Mayor Engen wants another rubber stamp on the City Council to mindlessly vote ‘yes’ for his agenda.
The last person he wants is someone like me, who’s going to question that agenda.
You can see Amber Sherrill’s Facebook candidate page, which has posts going back toward the middle of May.
She doesn’t list a lot of problems she sees with local government, nor does she offer up any issues she’s focused on. She doesn’t tell us much of anything, in fact.
I’m sure she’s a great person...but like I said, another rubber stamp for Engen.
So we’ll see all the big endorsements go toward Sherrill in this race, and probably most of the money, too. I suspect she’ll have the shiny mailers to hand out and mail out, and some good-looking yard signs. She’ll of course have access to the Democratic Voter Access Network (VAN), which will help with fundraising and identifying strong Democratic voters.
I’ll have none of that.
What I will have is knowledge, and a strong work ethic. With those two things, I can win this race.
It’s gonna be tough, damn tough. But it’s not impossible.
I think most of it boils down to how many doors you can knock on, getting that one-on-one voter contact. And the big trick there is not getting burned out and quitting after you’ve done it for a few weeks, or even a few months.
Most candidates do get burned out, and that’s why so many rely on money to carry them through.
I suspect most of the City Council candidates will spend a lot of money on Facebook ads. I haven’t used Facebook in nearly a year and deleted my account before the last election.
I was hoping to get access to the GOP VAN, but local Republicans told me that the state party lets their subscription lapse in off-years. That makes no sense to me. I did email the state GOP about the VAN, but haven’t heard back.
So I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, which is knocking on every door in the ward.
Yep, lots of work.
It’ll be interesting to see how these races turn out. I’ll keep you updated.